Camp begins with bold claims and high hopes …
The Dallas Cowboys arrived for training camp Thursday, openly embracing enormous expectations of reaching their first Super Bowl since the 1995 season.
Never mind that the Cowboys haven’t won a playoff game since the 1996 season and might not have veteran Terry Glenn as an option at wide receiver. This team looks and acts the part of a Super Bowl favorite in 2008.
However, the team appears to be on the verge of parting ways with Glenn, who missed 15 games last season after two surgeries on his right knee.
The Cowboys barred Glenn from practicing with the team during the off-season after he refused to sign a $500,000 injury settlement to save the team $1.2 million if he reinjured his right knee. Glenn is due to make $1.74 million in 2008. The Cowboys even threatened to cut the 13-year veteran if he didn’t sign.
According to a source, the issue is not so much about the money any more. The Cowboys have concerns about Glenn being available on a weekly basis and whether his presence will stunt the growth of the young receivers.
Owner Jerry Jones refused to discuss the Glenn situation Thursday, saying, "Nothing has changed with Terry Glenn." But he said the issue will be resolved shortly, with an announcement possibly coming as soon as today. Glenn didn’t report with the team Thursday, and the Cowboys declined to acknowledge whether he will be present when the Cowboys begin their first practice today. If they release Glenn, the Cowboys will save $1.7 million against the 2008 salary cap.
Receiver is a potential hurdle in the Cowboys’ Super Bowl quest because Pro Bowl receiver Terrell Owens, who turns 35 in December, has missed games in five of the past six seasons. And the team readily acknowledges the offense is not explosive when Owens is not on the field. Jones, possibly hinting at a trade, said the Cowboys have time between now and the season opener to address the issue either from within or outside the organization.
Revo enjoys Wade’s stubborn answers …
Wade, on the other hand, jitterbugged around what happened to his team last January and, as usual, made himself look absolutely ridiculous in doing so.
That’s the difference in the two men. Jerry can somehow manage to be almost endearing in publicly refusing to acknowledge that anything less than a Super Bowl will be a huge disappointment, even though that fact is crystal clear in everything else he says.
Wade just continues to come across as the doddering, almost feeble-minded white-haired uncle, unable to admit, even now, that his team began to crater in an ugly December, capped by its abysmal performance against the New York Giants in the playoffs.
How can the Cowboys, or any team, learn from their mistakes if the head coach won’t even admit that any were made?
Asked what he would do differently with hindsight, Phillips refused to answer the question, no matter how it was phrased.
Of course, saying you might do something differently would mean a mistake was actually made, and that’s a responsibility Phillips still won’t accept.
"You know, I don’t think 'do differently’ is relevant here because last year is over and last year’s team is over," he said. "The Giants aren’t the Super Bowl champions any more. It’s a new season."
That might come as a shock to the Giants, who probably thought they’d get to be the champs until someone actually dethroned them.
right up until that playoff fiasco Wade is happy to discuss 2007, though ... against New York.
the Giants "We only lost three games last year in the regular season, so ... went 4-4 their last games," he argued. "You’re making something out of not a whole lot there, in my opinion.
"We lost by four points in a playoff game. That’s what happened. It’s a fact. We move on and go forward. This isn’t last year’s team. This is this year’s team."
You think maybe we can remind him of that the next time he starts talking about 13 wins again?
JJT thinks it is Wade’s final year regardless of results …
For a few minutes Thursday, Jerry Jones gushed about Wade Phillips and the great job he did last year leading the Cowboys to a franchise record-tying 13 wins.
Jerry praised Wade's leadership. And his work ethic. And his approach. Then Jerry took a breath and continued complimenting Wade's selfless attitude, his management of the team's egos, his immense experience and his track record of success.
None of it changed my mind.
I still think Jason Garrett will be the head coach next season.
If the Cowboys get to the Super Bowl – win or lose – then Wade will ride off into the sunset with a 24K parachute courtesy of Jerry. If the Cowboys don't get to the Super Bowl, then Jerry will replace Wade with Garrett because he doesn't want to lose the highly coveted offensive coordinator.
Garrett, the NFL's highest-paid assistant coach, turned down head coaching jobs in Atlanta and Baltimore last year.
That won't happen again
And it has nothing to do with loyalty or patience. There are only 32 of these jobs in the world, and it doesn't take long for the league to move on to the next great assistant coach.
Plus, Garrett has ambition. At some point, he's going to want to run his own team and see if he can get the job done at football's highest level.
Besides, Jerry already has missed out on two quality coaches – Sean Payton and Tony Sparano – who have been hired as head coaches by other teams. He's way too smart to lose another.
This is not a knock on Wade. Instead, it's really giving Garrett the ultimate compliment. Now, that doesn't make Phillips feel any better, which is why you can see the perturbed expression when the topic is broached.
In the “Who will be the next Cowboys WR target?” division, Anquan Boldin is very unhappy in Arizona …and…guess who is agent is?
An afternoon storm, this one man-made, blew through the Northern Arizona University campus Thursday just minutes after the Cardinals finished their conditioning test.
Receiver Anquan Boldin did not hide his unhappiness over his contract, telling reporters that team officials deceived him by not following through on a promise to give him a new contract by the start of the season. Boldin said he has instructed his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to break off negotiations with the team.
"At this point, I'm not even interested in a contract," Boldin said. "I don't want a deal. People may think I'm being funny or saying that just to say it. But, for me, I'm just tired of it. Washed my hands of the whole situation. My agent has direct orders not to negotiate. So that's how I feel about it."
Rosenhaus, however, met with General Manager Rod Graves in Phoenix on Wednesday evening, then traveled to Flagstaff and met with coach Ken Whisenhunt on Thursday. Rosenhaus spoke to a reporter a few hours before Boldin made his comments and never indicated that talks had broken off.
In fact, he said there was hope because the two sides were still talking. Cardinals officials said Rosenhaus never mentioned breaking off negotiations during his trip to Arizona.
"I've made a lot of trips out here for my clients," Rosenhaus said, "and one of these times it will be fruitful. This time, it was not."
By the way, According to the always reliable Wikipedia, here is the full list of Rosenhaus clients ….and try to imagine what 5% of all of their salaries must be…
Will Allen, cornerback, Miami Dolphins.
Aundrae Allison, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings.
Brendon Ayanbadejo, linebacker, Baltimore Ravens.
Antwan Barnes, middle linebacker, Baltimore Ravens.
Darian Barnes, fullback, Buffalo Bills.
Marion Barber, running back, Dallas Cowboys.
Anthony Becht, tight end, St. Louis Rams.
Jacob Bell, offensive lineman, St. Louis Rams.
Yeremiah Bell, safety, Miami Dolphins.
Jon Beason, middle linebacker, Carolina Panthers.
Bernard Berrian, wide receiver, Minnesota Vikings.
Atari Bigby, safety, Green Bay Packers.
Anquan Boldin, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals.
Lance Briggs, outside linebacker, Chicago Bears.
Fernando Bryant, cornerback, New England Patriots.
Phillip Buchanon, cornerback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Plaxico Burress, wide receiver, New York Giants.
Rock Cartwright, running back, Washington Redskins.
Dan Cody, defensive end, Baltimore Ravens.
Dan Connor, middle linebacker, Carolina Panthers.
Jameel Cook, fullback, Houston Texans.
Najeh Davenport, running back, Free Agent.
Kellen Davis, tight end, Chicago Bears.
Darnell Dockett, defensive lineman, Arizona Cardinals.
Reuben Droughns, running back, New York Giants.
Eddie Drummond, wide receiver, Free Agent.
Ebenezer Ekuban, defensive lineman, Denver Broncos.
Demetric Evans, defensive lineman, Washington Redskins.
Fred Evans, defensive tackle, Minnesota Vikings.
Ronald Fields, defensive lineman, San Francisco 49ers.
Travis Fisher, defensive back, Detroit Lions.
London Fletcher-Baker, inside linebacker, Washington Redskins.
Drayton Florence, cornerback, Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jabar Gaffney, wide receiver, New England Patriots.
Frank Gore, running back, San Francisco 49ers.
Earnest Graham, running back, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Quinn Gray, quarterback, Indianapolis Colts.
Chris Hanson, punter, New England Patriots.
Nate Harris, linebacker, Kansas City Chiefs.
Tommie Harris, defensive tackle, Chicago Bears.
Justin Hartwig, offensive lineman, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jason Hill, wide receiver, San Francisco 49ers.
Renaldo Hill, safety, Miami Dolphins.
Glenn Holt, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals.
Marcus Hudson, defensive back, San Francisco 49ers.
Jack Ikegwuonu, cornerback,Philadelphia Eagles.
Larry Izzo, linebacker, New England Patriots.
Taylor Jacobs, wide receiver, Free Agent.
Edgerrin James, running back, Arizona Cardinals.
Chad Johnson, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals.
Charles Johnson, defensive end, Carolina Panthers.
Donnie Jones, punter, St. Louis Rams.
Greg Jones, running back, Jacksonville Jaguars.
Thomas Jones, running back, New York Jets.
William Joseph, defensive lineman, Oakland Raiders.
Jevon Kearse, defensive end, Tennessee Titans.
Damione Lewis, defensive line, Carolina Panthers.
Sam Madison, cornerback, New York Giants.
Olindo Mare, kicker, Seattle Seahawks.
Lemar Marshall, linebacker, Free Agent.
Darrell McClover, linebacker, Chicago Bears.
Bobby McCray, defensive end, New Orleans Saints.
Jerome McDougle, defensive end, Philadelphia Eagles.
Stockar McDougle, offensive lineman, Free Agent.
Bryant McFadden, cornerback, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Willis McGahee, running back, Baltimore Ravens.
Mike McKenzie, cornerback, New Orleans Saints.
Randy McMichael, tight end, St. Louis Rams.
Hanik Milligan, safety, Free Agent.
Travis Minor, running back, St. Louis Rams.
Anthony Montgomery, defensive tackle, Washington Redskins.
Vernand Morency, running back, Green Bay Packers.
Santana Moss, wide receiver, Washington Redskins.
Sinorice Moss, wide receiver, New York Giants.
Chris Myers, offensive lineman, Houston Texans.
Michael Myers, defensive lineman, Cincinnati Bengals.
Moran Norris, fullback, San Francisco 49ers.
Adewale Ogunleye, defensive end, Chicago Bears.
Greg Olsen, tight end, Chicago Bears.
Buck Ortega, tight end, New Orleans Saints.
Kassim Osgood, wide receiver, San Diego Chargers.
Terrell Owens, wide receiver, Dallas Cowboys.
Roscoe Parrish, wide receiver, Buffalo Bills.
Luke Petitgout, offensive tackle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Kenny Phillips, safety, New York Giants.
Antonio Pierce, linebacker, New York Giants.
Zach Piller, offensive lineman, Free Agent.
Michael Pittman, running back, Denver Broncos.
Clinton Portis, running back, Washington Redskins.
Keiwan Ratliff, cornerback, Indianapolis Colts.
Kerry Reed, wide receiver, Baltimore Ravens.
Antrel Rolle, cornerback, Arizona Cardinals.
Brett Romberg, offensive lineman, St. Louis Rams.
Matt Roth, defensive end, Miami Dolphins.
Lito Sheppard, cornerback, Philadelphia Eagles.
Jeremy Shockey, tight end, New Orleans Saints.
Antonio Smith, defensive lineman, Arizona Cardinals.
Dwight Smith, safety, Detroit Lions.
Kevin Smith, running back, Detroit Lions.
Paul Spicer, defensive lineman, Jacksonville Jaguars.
Donte' Stallworth, wide receiver, Cleveland Browns.
Drew Stanton, quarterback, Detroit Lions.
Marcus Stroud, defensive lineman, Buffalo Bills.
Fred A. Taylor, running back, Jacksonville Jaguars.
Devin Thomas, wide receiver, Washington Redskins.
Zach Thomas, linebacker, Dallas Cowboys.
Lawrence Timmons, linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers.
Stephen Tulloch, linebacker, Tennessee Titans.
Billy Volek, quarterback, San Diego Chargers.
Darius Walker, running back, Houston Texans.
Gabe Watson, defensive tackle, Arizona Cardinals.
Nate Webster, linebacker, Denver Broncos.
Greg Wesley, safety, Kansas City Chiefs.
Ernest Wilford, wide receiver, Miami Dolphins.
Kellen Winslow Jr, tight end, Cleveland Browns.
Eric Winston, offensive tackle, Houston Texans.
Mike Hindman on the Rangers trade situations …or lack thereof…
It's looking less and less likely that the Rangers will make any moves this week. The latest rumors seem to suggest that nobody wants Gerald Laird, the Rangers won't part with Eddie Gurardado, and interest in Hank Blalock is extremely tepid.
ESPN (Jayson Stark) reported that the Rangers have made it clear that they have no intention of trading veteran relievers Jamey Wright or Eddie Guardado. Three days ago, ESPN (Buster Olney) reported that "rival executives say [Guardado] is available."
Keep this in mind: Lefty relievers currently rumored to be on the market or heavily sought include Damaso Marte and John Grabow (PIT), Arthur Rhodes (SEA), George Sherrill (BAL), Ron Mahay (KC), Will Ohman (ATL), Alan Embree (OAK) and Brian Fuentes (COL). There are others who could be had for next to nothing and who might be useful in a very limited LOOGY role such as Jimmy Gobble (KC).
So while everyone in contention other than Boston seems to be looking for a lefty reliever, there's plenty of supply to keep the sellers from raking in big returns for them.
The Yankees brass emerged from their pow wow in Tampa yesterday saying that the aren't in the market for a catcher. One Yankee executive told Newsday's Kat O'Brien that "There doesn't seem to be much out there that's better than [current starting catcher Jose] Molina and [Chad] Moeller."
I can't find anything about where the Marlins stand on the catcher issue right now.
The Dodgers, who are rumored to be working on upgrades at both SS and 3B are evidently talking about moving RHP Derek Lowe to the White Sox for SS Orlando Cabrera.
Chicago GM Kenny Williams is said to be working on a deal with Baltimore to acquire 2B Brian Roberts, which would allow him to trade Cabrera and move Alexei Ramirez to his natural position.
The Dodgers are rolling with 40 year old Jeff Kent and 2B and what's left of Nomar
Garciaparra at SS, giving them what has to be just about the worst middle infield defense in the history of the game. I can see why they would prioritize and upgrade at SS over an upgrade at 3B.
The Dodgers are also telling people that young 3B Andy LaRoche is available. I suspect that the Dodgers would like Texas to bite.
On one hand, dealing Blalock to the Dodgers for LaRoche and a secondary prospect would make some sense for the Rangers, but it would complicate the looming issue of what to do with Michael Young in a year or two when he is expected to be bumped from his current position by Elvis Andrus.
Cuban still in the Cubs mix ….for 1.3 billion!
Tribune Co. is inviting at least three potential buyers who each submitted bids for the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field near or above $1 billion to participate in a second round of proposals, according to a person involved in the process.
Several bidders offering between $700 million and $900 million for all the properties have been excluded from the second round, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of nondisclosure agreements governing all talk about the bids.
A Tribune spokeswoman said the baseball team would not have any comment on the status of the sale, which also includes the team's minority stake in a Chicago regional sports TV network.
Included in the second round are Internet billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban; the Ricketts family, which founded the brokerage that is now TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.; and a group led by Sports Acquisition Holding Corp. that includes former baseball home run king Henry Aaron and former Republican Congressman Jack Kemp. The last group is believed to be teaming with another bidder who submitted an offer in the initial round.
All three of the reported potential buyers refused Thursday to comment publicly. However, the person involved in the bidding provided to The Associated Press an outline of the conditions for the second round.
Meanwhile, Comcast SportsNet has learned that Cuban is the highest bidder to buy the Cubs at $1.3 billion.
Fun MLS all-star game last night as the All-Stars take down West Ham …
Just making it to the Major League Soccer All-Star game was a "nightmare" for Dwayne DeRosario. Once he arrived, it turned into a night he'll never forget.
The Houston midfielder scored a tiebreaking penalty, Chicago midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco had one goal and helped set up another, and the MLS All-Stars posted a 3-2 victory over English Premier League team West Ham United on Thursday night.
"A game like this in my hometown, I can't ask for anything more, especially to have an opportunity to have an impact in the game," said DeRosario, who grew up in suburban Toronto. "For me, it's a dream come true."
It's the second time in three years that DeRosario has scored the winning goal in the MLS All-Star game; his second-half strike helped the MLS beat English club Chelsea 1-0 in 2006.
DeRosario and Houston teammate and fellow Canadian Pat Onstad didn't arrive in Toronto until early Thursday morning. The Dynamo had to play a makeup game in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday night, and rain forced a 3-hour delay and a finish after midnight. The pair caught an early morning flight to Toronto, but were delayed another 90 minutes at the airport.
"It was terrible," DeRosario said. "I was very disappointed. It's supposed to be a week the players enjoy, especially with it being in my hometown, to really soak up the atmosphere. I really missed that. In the future things need to be handled a bit better."
Blanco was chosen as the game's most valuable player for the All-Stars, who are unbeaten in five years against foreign opponents.
"The MLS players showed we have good players in our league, not only good players but great players," New England coach Steve Nicol said.
Forward Dean Ashton scored both goals for West Ham, which beat MLS' Columbus Crew 3-1 in an exhibition match on Sunday that was marred by a halftime scuffle between fans of both teams.
Los Angeles midfielder David Beckham played the entire game and earned an assist in his first MLS All-Star appearance. Beckham came close to scoring in the 40th minute, but his low free kick was headed away by West Ham defender Calum Davenport.
The England international had two more opportunities early in the second half, running onto a loose ball inside the 18-yard box but shooting high and just wide. He missed wide again on a free kick minutes later.
"I'd read about the last five years not losing so I was kind of nervous and hoping that we would win," Beckham said. "As soon as we started I knew we were capable of winning it because of the quality we've got in the team."
Buzz Carrick on the odd Juan Toja transfer story …by the way, the rumors of Kenny Cooper being gone also appear premature, but I would not fall in love with Toja or Cooper being here in 2009….
In what is rapidly turning into one of the biggest soap operas in FCD history, the Juan Toja transfer to Steaua Bucharest is being held up at the final hurdle.
According to a source familiar with the negations, the deal has hit a snag over the final selling price. While we have been unable to confirm the price point that separates the two teams, the final gap does appear to be large enough to endanger the transfer. With two years left on his $150,000 per year contract, FCD will want serious value to sell the two-time All-Star.
Thursday night, Toja said he is still very interested in the move but confirmed to SBI that the deal was not yet final. “People talk a lot and I’ve tried to make it clear that while it is a great opportunity and we’re trying to get it done, nothing is certain yet,” Toja told SBI after the MLS All-Star Game. “The truth is nothing has happened and nothing has been signed so until something is signed then we don’t know what will happen.”
Toja’s latest denials and our own well placed source’s confirmation of a stall are but the latest developments in a crazy last 48 hours. Wednesday morning Schellas Hyndman had been quite clear that no deal was in place, despite multiple reports in the Romanian press. Hyndman also made a verbal plea to his midfielder to stay in Dallas with the promise to talk about a new contract, but did promise to support his move.
Later that same day, a league level source at the All-Star game told 3rd Degree that the Toja transfer was a “done deal.” That same afternoon various reports arose in Romania, as they had all week in fact, again saying the deal was done. Including one article that features an interview with the player in question that might just be fake.
That same evening the FCD Blog ran a rebuttle to the various done deal stories, saying no deal was in place. Meanwhile the Dallas Morning New ran a piece saying the deal was getting close, but ran a quote by Toja’s agent (from another Romanian newspaper) saying the payment schedule was the hold up. “‘The problem for the transfer is that Steaua doesn’t want to pay the full amount for Toja immediately,’ Nestor Sivori, Toja’s agent, told Bucharest daily Prosport.”
wrote the DMN.
Also in the DMN article, Hyndman again echo’s the “price is the problem” line, teasing what we’ve now learned late today. “I expect him here to play against LA,” Hyndman told the DMN. “No one has told me any different. After that, there may be some changes. They have to give FC Dallas an offer that we think is the value of Juan’s ability. We don’t want to give Juan away.”
On Thursday FIFA itself got in on the act saying the deal was going forward, and even quoted Toja as saying, “‘I’ve reached agreement, the clubs have agreed, all that’s left is to sign,’ the 23-year-old Toja told the sports daily Gazeta Sporturilor.” That evening on the All-Star game broadcast the commentators again reference a pending deal.
Now late Thursday night/Friday morning, 3rd Degree has learned from a well placed source familiar with the negotiations that the deal is stalling over the final price. FC Dallas is apparently standing their ground over the value of the player. With SBI reporting the price sitting at $700,000 US, it’s no wonder FCD is holding firm as coaching staff source indicated to 3rd Degree last week that the offer would have to be a good bit above $1 million for the Red Stripes to bite on the sale.
Peoria v Dayton Fued
Rob Stone vs. Chili Peppers